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Posted 11/2/2016

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By Gwyn G. Neill
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs

The Vicksburg-Warren School District’s Academy of Innovation recently visited the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center for a science and technology event on the ERDC campus grounds.

ERDC hosted 225 seventh-grade students and gave them the opportunity to engage with researchers and scientists in hands-on demonstrations in an effort to promote education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The event was held on the front lawn of ERDC’s main headquarters building located on Halls Ferry Road.

Ten STEM stations were set up by the various Vicksburg laboratories including the Coastal and Hydraulics Lab, the Environmental Lab, the Geotechnical and Structures Lab and the Information Technology Lab. Students moved through the round-robin format in small groups and were able to ask questions and interact with the scientists and researchers.

The Academy’s teachers used this time to explain and relate material presented by ERDC to their current classroom studies.

Some of the STEM areas the students learned about were sediments and levee breaches through a river flume model, TeleEngineering and deployable satellite communications, a model of the ERDC’s powerful centrifuge, concrete materials and their properties and the use of remote thermal cameras for detecting metal objects on the soil’s surface and subsurface.

The scientists and researchers also showed an ERDC-devised technology for detecting oil spills, scientific uses for unmanned aerial vehicles which are more commonly known as drones, a variety of environmental research organisms and the use of plants for helping clear up hazardous wastes.

According to their website, the Academy of Innovation is described as a junior high STEM academy where students participate in project-based learning. It is an accelerated program of study for VWSD grades seven and eight with acceptance based on referral.

In continuing the partnership between the VWSD and ERDC, eighth grade Academy of Innovation students will host an ERDC speaker series at the school for continued interaction with ERDC scientists and researchers on STEM-related topics.

Academy of Innovation ERDC STEM USACE